Knowns of Newspeak

“It’s a good question. But I think it’s not to say that we’re saying and I’m not saying that they, someone should’ve told me.
To my knowledge, certain things were not known. And when new information came to light in respect to my knowledge of these events and to the understanding when new information came to light the company acted on it.”
“And the company acted on it in a right and proper way as best the company could. But it’s difficult to say that the company should’ve been told something if it’s not known a thing was a known fact to be told.

~ James Murdoch
Testimony to Parliament
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The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

~ Donald Rumsfeld
Department of Defense news briefing
2-12-02
 – – –  

“I dropped off the money exactly as per… look, man, I’ve got certain information, all right? Certain things have come to light. And, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that, instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new shit, you know, I-I-I-I… this could be a-a-a-a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean, it’s not just, it might not be just such a simple… uh, you know?”

The Dude
The Big Lebowski
(comparison made by David Kurtz at TPM)
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Fox News: Evil Empire

Fox news is biased conservative spin.  That is obvious even to good reporters on Fox news.  Shepard Smith kicks ass!

Anyone who doesn’t see that is very naive and such naivette is very dangerous for this country.

As the owner, Rupert Murdoch is the person ultimately responsible for spin and race-baiting that gets spewed on Fox news.  Murdoch is conservative, but more than anything he is a political opportunist (see here).  He isn’t going to sacrifice profits for ideology and he has no allegiance to any party of any country.  His only ideology is selfish libertarianism.  He has had a continuous fight against those who try to protect the freedom of the market and he is very effective in destroying competition.

Murdoch’s power and influence is international.  He is one of the largest (if not the largest) media owners in the world and owns media in a wide variety of countries.  I’ve heard he owns more tv stations in America than any other group.  He was forced to become a naturalized US citizen just to satisfy legal requirements.

Furthermore, talk radio which Fox has it’s hand in is dominated by conservatives.  Rush Limbaugh became popular because his program was given away for free for years which is a tactic that Murdoch has often used to annihalate competition.  Anyways, the claim that the media is liberal is the most effective propaganda ever created by the right.

Roger Ailes left his career working for Republicans in Washington and has been the President of Fox in recent years.  He has a history of using racism for political ends starting with the Willie Horton ad.

Murdoch claims that popularity equals proof that Fox is a real news station.

That was worth a laugh.  Here is an explanation of how Fox news became the way it did.

He talks about Roger Ailes theory that the most important factor is grabbing people’s attention and thus increasing ratings.  While people are distracted (by the bombastic pundit, by the sexy reporter, and by the flashy graphics), you slip in your propaganda.  You can ask the most ridiculous question and few will notice.  The implied answer may be bigoted, but it will slip by the viewer’s attention as the next new shiny thing quickly distracts the viewer once again.

There was a conservative News station called National Empowerment which was the precursor to Fox news, but the latter learned from the mistakes of the former.

(1) Fox news learned that presenting news in a serious journalistic fashion neither gains ratings and income nor does it influence the public.  People don’t care if the arguments aren’t logical when they’re be distracted by theatrics.  People won’t notice the lack of accurate facts because few people research anything for themselves.  They can pretty much say blatant lies just as long as you keep it entertaining.

(2) Fox news realized that you shouldn’t actually be fair and balanced.  They don’t want to criticize the Republicans and Democrats equally.  They need to align yourself with those in power, and so Fox news became the voice of the Republican party.  This way, Fox news gets open access to the Republican party and they’re less likely to upset mainstream advertisers.

(3) Fox news refuses to identify itself as being conservative.  They’re run by Republicans and align themselves with the Republican party, but they don’t want viewers to identify them as Republicans.  They need to pretend they’re actually a real news station that offers real “fair and balanced” reporting.  Partisan spin works best when it doesn’t appear as propaganda.

(4) Last but not least, have major financial backing.  Fox news is connected with News Corp which is a very large corporation with deep pockets.  News Corp was able to finance and lose 95 million dollars a year before Fox news became profitable.